Impossible Mission (DS)

Impossible Mission
Nintendo DS (2007)

“Another visitor! Stay awhile … staaaaaay … hey, wait a minute! Weren’t you the guy who was here 20 years ago?”

Chances are, if you were a Commodore 64 owner, it was you. It has been almost twenty-five years since Epyx released Impossible Mission for the Commodore 64, which was quickly ported to several other home computers and videogame consoles including the Apple II, Atari 7800, Nintendo Entertainment System, and Sega Master System. Followed by two sequels (Impossible Mission II and Impossible Mission: 2025), Impossible Mission is remembered not only for its innovative style of game play, but also its groundbreaking speech synthesis. Twenty-five years later, Impossible Mission (thanks to Warner Bros. and System 3) has found its way to the Nintendo DS.

The Nintendo DS port of Impossible Mission contains three modes of play — Classic, Merged, and New – although they aren’t as different as they first sound. Classic is, for all intents and purposes, a clone of the original – down to the old digitized speech. Of course it wouldn’t be a DS game if players weren’t required to use the system’s touch pad in some fashion, and this game is no exception; minor portions of the game (like accessing the in-game computer monitors to reset lifts and put robots to sleep) have been changed to utilize the handheld’s touch screen. Merged is simply the classic game but with updated graphics, and New is the same as Merged but with a choice of three different characters (just like Impossible Mission: 2025). While it sounds like buyers are getting three games, technically they’re getting one game with three skins.

For those unfamiliar with Impossible Mission, players must search for puzzle pieces in Elvin Atombender’s lair while avoiding killer robots, a giant electrified ball, and bottomless pits. If you manage to collect all the puzzle pieces before time runs out, they can be assembled to reveal a secret pin number which can be used to defeat Elvin. Part of Impossible Mission’s appeal is that the placement of searchable items, puzzle pieces, and even room location is randomized each time you play, so no two gaming sessions are identical. One thing that has made Impossible Mission so popular throughout the years is its combination of action (searching the rooms) combined with strategy/puzzle-solving (fitting the puzzle pieces together).

Impossible Mission stands the test of time. The room layouts are as diabolical as ever, as are Atombender’s homicidal robots. Although the cartridges three versions play virtually identical, the choice between graphic styles will please both new and retro gamers. Although Impossible Mission’s overall design may be simpler than newer platformers, it’s still a challenging game that delivers on all levels. Stay awhile, indeed.

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